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"Campaigners march against female genital mutilation in Kenya. Antony Njuguna/Reuters"
(Source: The Guardian)
Timeline: Gender equality, 2014 year in review
UN Women (December 23, 2014)
UN Women posts a fascinating Gender Equality "Year In Review" Timeline including summaries of many of the highlights for women’s rights and gender equality around the world. It covers global conferences, new legislation promoting gender equality, sports, advocacy campaigns, the arts and more.
Afghanistan: Women’s rights make big gains
Anne Steele, Christian Science Monitor (January 6, 2015)
In recent years, women have made tremendous gains in Afghanistan. A record number of girls are in school, women's access to healthcare has increased, maternal mortality has dropped, and laws have been implemented to ensure gender equality. With Western withdrawal from the country, Afghanistan runs the risk of the government sacrificing women’s rights to reach a peace agreement with the Taliban. To "safeguard" women's rights, the international community must continue to pressure the country to keep moving in the right direction toward achieve gender equality.
‘Gender Equality Isn’t Just A Women’s Issue’: Interview with Elizabeth Nyamayaro, UN HeForShe Founder
The Huffington Post (January 6, 2015)
The Huffington Post interviews Elizabeth Nyamayaro, senior advisor to the Under Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women, who recently launched the HeForShe Campaign. The campaign encourages men and women to work together to promote women’s rights and achieve gender equality. The interview covers the history of the campaign and Nyamayaro's life, impacts to date, and inspiring success stories. Nyamayaro also discusses some of the specific steps taken by the campaign to encourage men to take action, such as implementing the campaign at universities and providing action kits online. For more information about the campaign, visit www.heforshe.org.
Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting
It’s time to fight traditions that harm women’s health: WHO
Magadelinai Mis, Thomas Reuters Foundation (December 19, 2014)
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), many of the most violent practices inflicted upon women are completely integrated into societies and are viewed as “traditions.” These traditions include human rights violations such as female genital mutilation (FGM) and child marriage. Education is key to empowering women and ending such atrocities—and education and the fight for women’s rights must be strongly supported by the international community.
I don’t like being the face of FGM, says Australian survivor, but I must break the silence
Bridie Jabour, The Guardian (January 1, 2015)
Khadija Gbla experienced a horrific female genital mutilation (FGM) as a young girl. Now a pregnant adult, Gbla is at increased risk of pregnancy and birth complications. Gbla discusses the tremendous silence and ignorance surrounding FGM among survivors, doctors, and society as a whole. She emphasizes the importance of raising awareness about FGM and the impact it has on women throughout their lives.
Women seized in Boko Haram raid on Nigerian village
Monica Mark, The Guardian (December 18, 2014)
Boko Haram militants continue to terrorize Nigeria months after the April abduction of 276 Nigerian schoolgirls. This December, at least 100 women and children were kidnapped, and dozens killed, by Boko Haram in the north-eastern Nigerian village Gumsuri. Many Nigerian soldiers have refused to fight against Boko Haram and have faced allegations of rights abuses including rape, pillage, and executing villagers. The attacks have also spread into Cameroon.
The campaigners who won’t forget the schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram
Bin Adewunmi, The Guardian (December 17, 2014)
Former Nigerian Federal Minister of Education Oby Ezekwesili leads protesters in daily marches in the Nigerian Capital Abuja to remind the government to "Bring Back Our Girls." The purpose of these protests is to ensure that the government does not forget the kidnapped girls, but instead concretely identifies plans to rescue the girls and end terrorism in the north-east part of the country. Their voices are particularly important as it is election year in Nigeria, and Ezekwesili emphasizes how the ending of these atrocities should be an important part of the election conversation.
Indian Officials Seek 2 Police Officers Accused of Raping Girl, 14
Hari Kumar and Nida Najar, The New York Times (January 2, 2015)
Indian officials are on the hunt for two police office accused of raping a 14 year-old girl in the Budaun district of Uttar Pradesh. This district became notorious last May when two girls were found hanging from a mango tree. Senior officials from across the country are demanding acting against these police officers and are collaborating with local police in Budaun for justice.
India Police Arrest Sixth Suspect in Alleged Rape Case
Suryatapa Bhattacharya, The Wall Street Journal (January 6, 2015)
A sixth suspect has been arrested in the alleged rape case of a Japanese woman visiting India.The young woman alleges that she was kidnapped for two weeks by men who held her captive and raped her. This case brings the issue of violence against women in India back to the international spotlight and may have severe repercussions on the Indian tourism industry.
Palestinian TV to raise awareness of violence against women and girls
Liz Ford, The Guardian (January 1, 2015)
Violence against women is a large problem in Palestine. To combat this violence, the Ma'an Network, a non-profit media organization broadcasting shows in the West Bank and Gaza, is using a grant from the UK government to produce shows that address this violence. The shows will focus on issues such as domestic violence, rape, and discrimination and will be accompanied by workshops in remote and more conservative areas. Productions will include a court room program and a comedy show.
Economic/Social Empowerment and Challenges
Where Working Women Are Most Common
Grego Aish, Josh Katz, David Leonhardt, The New York Times (January 6, 2015)
This interactive map of the United States shows the levels of female unemployment in counties across the country. The accompanying article discusses why female employment rates varies with the affluence of communities, as well as looks at reasoning behind rising female unemployment in the nation.
UN Women signs agreement to foster economic and social empowerment in Turkey
UN Women (December 19, 2014)
UN Women recently signed an agreement with Koc Holding, a Turkish organization that manages finance, energy, tourism, and technology companies, and that promotes women’s empowerment and women’s rights in Turkey. The signing of this agreement is emblematic of many years of hard work by Koc Holding in promoting women’s rights. The organization is excited to begin this new partnership with UN Women and to continue focusing on women’s empowerment to benefit both Turkey and the world.
China Needs Millions of Brides ASAP
Adam Minter, Bloomberg View (December 25, 2014)
Gender imbalance is having a tremendous impact on communities throughout China and in neighboring countries. Because of a long-standing cultural preference for boys, males in China greatly outnumbers female. Consequently, males lack wives, leading to the formation of "bachelor villages" and high incidence of bride trafficking from neighboring countries.
"Members of the All India Women’s Congress attend a protest in New Delhi to mark the increasing violence against women." (Xinhua/Landov/Barcroft Media) Source: The Guardian
How can India end this tide of violence against women?
KumKum Dasgupta, The Guardian (December 10, 2014)
There is a tremendous amount of violence against women in India. Even though there has been increased education, gender awareness, and pro-women laws passed in the country, gender-based violence not only continues—it is actually growing. A new study on “Masculinity, Intimate Partner violence and Son Preference in India” finds that violence occurs within the home at all socio-economic levels. Dasgupta argues that most initiatives announced in recent years by the government have not been enforced, and this needs to change to truly stop the violence.
Laadli and the Vital Importance of Girls in India
Robert Walker, The Huffington Post (December 8, 2014)
Indian women suffer from intense gender inequality and gender-based violence. The Population Institute's Walker argues that true change requires a shift in gender norms. One organization working to change these norms is Population First, a Mumbai-based organization that created the Laadli Media awards in 2008. These Laadli awards honor women across India who “highlight pressing gender concerns and promote gender sensitivity.” Walker delves into the history and influential role played by these Laadli awards.
Why Aren’t World Leaders Angrier About Violence Against Women?
Marc Silver, NPR (December 9, 2014)
NPR’s Mark Silver interviews South African activist Bafana Khumalo, a recipient of the first Vital Voices Solidarity Award. This award is given to men who speak out to stop violence against women. Khumalo is co-founder of the Sonke Gender Justice in South Africa, and in this interview, discusses his involvement in the movement, different ways that violence against women are manifested, and the important role that international leaders have in stopping gender based violence.
#16 Days: Conflict in Iraq and Syria Plays Out on Women’s Bodies
Megane Ghorbani and Susan Tolmay, AWID (December 12, 2014)
AWID speaks with Lisa Davis, the Human Rights Advocacy Director at MADRE, and Nurcan Baysal, a Kurdish activist, about the impact that the insurgency of the “Islamic State in Iraq and Syria” (ISIS) has on women and girls. Violence in Syria and Iraq has led to increased rape, abuse, and trafficking of women and girls. Baysal describes her personal experiences when visiting Ezidi refugee camps and her discussions with women affected by violence. Davis calls for more international action and advocacy to empower local women’s organizations in the region and highlights the important role of neighboring and regional governments.
Legal Institutions, International Affairs & Gender Equality
Amendment to some Nepal acts to ensure gender equality
Himalayan News Service (December 9, 2014)
A new bill has been proposed in Nepal to increase women’s rights, end gender-based violence, and ensure gender equality in Nepal. The proposed bill has 31 amendments to different acts, including a change assuring property rights to daughters after marriage. Although the bill itself is an enormous step in the right direction towards gender equality, activists argue that there is a great need to also spread awareness about the bill in and the importance of gender equality in small, local communities across the country.
Pushing for Gender Equity at COP21
Stephanie Wildes, Independent European Daily Express (December 10, 2014)
The international community has acknowledged that women are more impacted by climate change then men, due to a majority female presence in the international agricultural sector, as well as men receiving the majority of climate vulnerability funds. At this year’s 20th Conference of the Parties (COP20) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCCC), activists are arguing for an increased recognition of women’s disproportionate susceptibility to climate change. Furthermore, activists are arguing for more effective policies that will influence impacted women. While many countries, such as Mexico, are support gender equality in climate change conversations, other nations, such as Saudi Arabia, are pushing back against any concept of gender equality at COP 20.
Turkish women’s rights beyond Islamists and secularists
Yuksel Sezgin, The Washington Post (December 10, 2014)
This article discusses the long history of gender inequality in Turkey and argues that since 2002 when the Justice and Development Party (AKP) came into power in Turkey, misogyny has only continued (and in some cases worsened). This article was written in response to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erodgan’s atrocious statement in a late November women’s rights conference that gender equality contradicted the laws of nature. Readers learn about many of the abuses Turkish women suffer, including gender based violence, lack of resources to healthcare and education, as well as a small role in the work force.
Carving A Space: Reflections on the 2nd MenEngage Symposium
Srilatha Batliwala, AWID (December 19, 2014)
AWID’s Srilatha Batliwala writes about the 2nd MenEngage Global Symposium in New Delhi this past November. The goal of the symposium was to unite men and boys across the world towards achieving gender equality. Batliwala discusses many positive take aways from the conference; for instance, she praises the “cutting-edge” ideas and conversations, particularly the unanimous agreement among attendees that “patriarchy is the root cause of gender injustice.” Batliwala also writes about some of her concerns from the conference, specifically that she felt there was not enough credit for the current work of women’s rights movement / organizations. Nevertheless, this symposium was a success in bringing many gender equality issues to the forefront of people’s minds across the globe.
The Lessons We’ve Learned on Cultivating Community Leaders for Girls’ Education
Judith-Ann Walker, Brookings Institution (December 11, 2014)
Nigeria’s Judith-Ann Walker writes about the importance of women’s education at the local level. She argues that local, community-based education of women and girls is even more important than prominent women taking on leadership issues, for only at the community level can change truly occur and “cultural barriers” to girls’ education be eradicated. Walker emphasizes the importance of empowering local women through innovative strategies. She herself founded a leadership program for community leaders called the Women Leaders for Girls’ Education Program. Walker discusses the success of this program and how it can be used as a model for women’s education and empowerment across the globe.
Women take more places in rising university numbers
Sean Coughlan, BBC News (December 19, 2014)
In the United Kingdom, there is a widening gap between male and female university attendance, reaching record levels: around 34% of women attend university in the UK, while only 26% of men receive a higher education. This article also looks at other variations in UK higher education, such as the gap between rich and poor university attendance.
Girls’ Health and Maternal Health
Maasai women denounce FGM practice in Kenya
Carla Mackenzie, FIGO (December 12, 2014)
Hundreds of Maasai Women in Kenya have united together as part of the international “Let Girls Be Women Without the Cut” campaign, which advocates against female genital mutilation (FGM). In Kenya, as well as many other countries across the world, FGM is a traditional coming of age practice; these Maasai women are arguing for an “alternative” right of passage that does not violate the human rights of women and girls.
Extra mental health support for new mums and mums-to-be
Emma Wilkinson, BBC News (December 17, 2014)
Recent studies show that women are at an increased risk of anxiety, depression, and other mental health illnesses after giving birth to children. Unfortunately, these problems are often unrecognized and untreated—yet many are easily solved with treatment. Doctors and psychologists have come up with recommendations at all stages of pregnancy and early motherhood to help promote mental health and to support women giving birth, particularly vulnerable women in “hard-to-reach” low-income communities.
Photo credit: DW / H. Sirat
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
Is Egypt Ready to Join Growing Global Movement to End FGM?
Suad Abu Dayyeh (The Guardian) - November 30th, 2014
Suad Abu-Dayyeh from Equality Now writes a compelling piece about Egypt’s lack of effort in the global movement to end FGM, particularly in the acquittement of the doctor and father involved in 13 year old Sohair al-Bata’s death. Unlike many other countries, such as Kenya, the UK, and Guinea Basseau which have made positive strides towards stopping FGM, the vast majority of Egypt’s female population continue to be affected by this human rights abuse. Abu-Dayyeh discusses measures that Egypt must take if they wish to help be a part of the solution to ending this violence practice.
The campaigns to end FGM are a step forward, but they don’t go far enough
Charlotte Rachel Proudman (The Independent) - November 29th, 2014
This article discusses the necessity for FGM education to become a part of the UK national curriculum. Tens of thousands of UK girls are at risk every year, and Produman argues that without integration into the national curriculum, FGM will be unable to be stopped. Previous efforts to increase FGM awareness in schools and some of the success and challenges that these campaigns have experienced.
In battle of sexes at central banks, Thai women have already won
Suttinee Yuvejwattana (Bloomberg News) - November 29th, 2014
Women working in the Bank of Thailand outnumber men, which is rare in today’s world where the majority of central banks are male dominated. This article discusses the history of women’s tremendous leadership in the Thai economy and emphasizes education’s fundamental role in this process.
The Most Destructive Gender Binary
Time Magazine (Gary Barker) - November 26th, 2014
Gary Barker, the founder and Director of Promundo, an international organization working to engage men and boys in gender equality, discusses the important role that men play in the battle for women’s rights and ending violence against women. Men play a pivotal role in gender equality, and he provides copious amount of support behind this argument; he also provides evidence of situations where men are worse off than women. Barker emphasizes the importance of eradicating this binary and instead encourages men and women to work together in the fight to end this injustice.
UN women chief ‘seriously concerned’ Afghan women’s gains may be reversed
Gabriel Dominguez (DW News) - November 28th, 2014
DW News interviews Phumzile Mlambo Ngeuka, the executive director of UN women, on the effect that foreign troops and international aid withdrawal from Afghanistan will have on recent policy gains made by Afghan women. She provides parameters that must be met in order for women to gain gender equality. Although recent progress for has been made in the country for women’s rights, (such as the Elimination of Violence Against Women law) such gains could be “endangered” by upcoming possible political stability and aid reduction.
Peace Effort with Taliban is Excluding Women, Report Says
Rod Norland (The New York Times) - November 24th, 2014
A recent report written by Afghan women titled “Behind Closed Doors” argues that women have been left out of the peace process with the Taliban. Female leaders complain that Afghan leaders are “trading women’s rights for peace; in fact, there are more former Taliban members on the High Peace Council than women. Women’s organizations, such as Afghan Women’s Network, are advocating for an increased role in the negotiation process in order to ensure gender equality in the country.
Rape, Harassment and Sexual Violence
India ‘sexual harassment’ video men held
BBC News - December 1st, 2014
A recent video of two Indian sisters’ beating men who they accused of sexual violence has gone viral. The video shows these two young-adults women fighting men who allegedly sexually harassed them on the bus. The international community has responded in overwhelming support of the women fighting for their rights. Furthermore, the men who harassed the women are currently being held and the bus driver as well as conductor have been suspended from their service for failing to aid the sisters.
Education for Women and Girls
Priyanka Chopra, Freido Pinto come together for girls’ education
Zee News - November 29th, 2014
Girl Rising, a global campaign teaching girls about the importance of education, has recently been brought to India. The campaign works through filmmaking to spread awareness about the importance of women’s education and the incredible successes that women can achieve. Actresses Freido Pinto and Priyanak Chopra have agreed to play a pivotal role in this campaign.
Lori Sokol: From Desperation to Education
Lori Sokol (Huffington Post) - November 30th, 2014
The Women’s Forum of New York’s Education Fund Award awards women with the funds necessary to receive an undergraduate college education. The fund recognizes women who have overcome adversity and have tremendous potential to influence change. Sokol explores the importance of female education and provides stories of previous recipients of the award.
Slavery levels in UK ‘higher than thought’
BBC News (November 29th, 2014)
The UK Analysis for the Home Office release in 2013 that there are between 10,000-13,000 victims of slavery in the UK. This is the first time that the government has stated the tremendous scale of this trafficking, and has led to increased governmental action to work towards eradicating this “Hidden Crime.” Measures include the Modern Slavery Bill which is currently going through parliament, as well as raising awareness about this issue and bringing it “out into the open.”
UN Report Shows an Increase in Trafficking of Children
Rick Gladstone (The New York Times) - November 24th, 2014
The United Nations recently released the 2014 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons detailing many astounding statistics on global trafficking. Unfortunately, the number of children being trafficked is rising and the majority of victims are females. Furthermore, the report emphasizes that trafficking is truly global issue and affects countries all across the world.
Violence Against Women & Public Health
New Global Study Calls Violence Against Women Epidemic
Charlotte Alter, Time Magazine (November 21, 2014)
The Lancet, one of the world’s top medical journals, recently published a five-part series of studies entitled “Violence Against Women And Girls.” This series discusses many of the horrors that women face every day and calls these human rights abuses a “a problem of epidemic proportions.” It also lists concrete, research-based recommendations for governments to decrease violence against women.
See this series from The Lancet medical journal:
Violence against women and girls
Barbara Bush on the Impact of Ebola on Women’s Health
Lucy Westcott, Newsweek (November 17, 2014)
Barbara Bush and Melinda Gates are working to address the repercussions that the ebola outbreak has had on women’s health. Women in countries overwhelmed by ebola may be too afraid to go to the hospital, leading to increasing maternal mortality and a lack of contraception. Bush and Gates believe generally improving health systems in countries under threat of ebola will help fight the disease and minimize its effects. Organizations such as Bush’s Global Health Corps are working to combat such issues.
Do Long Winter Nights Impact Women's Health?
Katherine M. Sharkey, Huffington Post (November 18, 2014)
Recent studies indicate that women are more impacted by “seasonal affective disorder” (SAD) otherwise known as “Winter Depression” than men. Studies show that by adulthood, women are about four times more likely to suffer from SAD symptoms than men. More research is needed to uncover the basis of these sex differences, and studies of disease must be sure to enroll enough women for gender comparisons to be made.
Female Genital Mutilation / Cutting
Egypt’s first female genital mutilation trial ends in not guilty verdict
Patrick Kingsley, The Guardian (November 20, 2014)
The doctor responsible for the death of 12-year-old Sohair al Bata during a June 2013 female genital mutilation (FGM) procedure has been found not guilty of manslaughter. Dr. Raslan Fadl was the first doctor put on trial for this crime, and human rights activists and the international community condemning FGM are furious and saddened by the decision. However, a number of activists believe that the best way to end such atrocities is not through court cases, but by going into villages and discussing the issue on personal level with villagers, doctors, and midwives.
Fighting Female Genital Mutilation (Op-ed)
Mona Eltahaway, The New York Times (November 16, 2014)
In this powerful op-ed on female genital mutilation around the world, Mona Eltahaway spotlights Egypt, her country of origin, and the history of FGM there. She also points to international efforts to eradicate FGM and several methods she believes must be implemented in order to truly combat this human rights violation. Eltahway wrote this poignant article a week before the trial of the doctor and father of Soheir al Batea, a young Egyptian girl who died during a FGM procedure.
Africa Strives for Gender Equality by 2030
Rutendo Nyamuda, CNBC Africa (November 20, 2014)
African ministers met in Ethiopia to discuss gender equality at the 9th Africa Regional Conference on Women. They decided to re-adopt the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action calling governments to provide “necessary resources for gender equality.” According to UN Women deputy executive director Lakshmi Puri, the deadline to achieve gender equality on the continent, in all spheres of life, is 2030. The African ministers reaffirmed their governments’ commitment to this goal.
IGNITE: Technology is a Women’s Rights Issue (Op-Ed)
Musimbi Kanyoro, The Huffington Post (November 20 2014)
Dr. Musimbi Kanyoro, the President and CEO of the Global Fund for Women, highlights the important role technology serves in empowering women. Kanyoro argues that without equal distribution of technology between men and women, it will be impossible for women to gain equality. The Global Fund for Women’s IGNITE project empowers different nonprofits across the world working to provide women with access to technology.
Law and Advocacy
Nicaragua: Decree to Implement Law on Violence Against Women—A Setback for Women’s Rights
Gabby De Cicco, AWID (November 14, 2014)
Nicaragua's new Law 779 "Comprehensive Law on Violence Against Women" ostensibly values "protection of the family," but there are major concerns that as worded, the law sanctions violence against women for the supposed good of the family, particularly in the context of feminicide.
Indonesia: ‘ Virginity Tests’ for Female Police
Human Rights Watch (November 18, 2014)
Activists are outraged by the Indonesian National Police’s use of “virginity tests.” Although failed candidates are not necessarily expelled from the force, it is a degrading and painful practice that many policewomen in Indonesia have protested to senior police officials in vain. Nisha Varia, associate women’s rights director at Human Rights Watch, calls for “immediate and unequivocal abolishment” of the test.
Young Indigenous Activists In Global Advocacy Spaces
Gabby De Cicco, AWID (November 21, 2014)
Interview with a participant of the first-ever World Conference on Indigenous Peoples. Dali Angel is a member of the Central American and Mexican Indigenous Youth Women’s Network and discusses successes and challenges of empowering youth to bring about change.
—This news brief was prepared by Ashley Jowell & Kevin Hsu
On World Day against Trafficking in Persons, UN calls for action to eradicate scourge
UN News Center (July 30, 2014)
July 30 marks the first World Day Against Trafficking Persons, a day meant to emphasize this practice of slavery still rampant in modern society. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon stressed the need to address deep issues underlying the cause of human trafficking, and urged countries to ratify and implement the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and Its Protocol on Trafficking Persons. He also focused on the need to emphasize hope for victims, and the responsibility of all governments to work together to abolish trafficking.
Chilean President Michelle Bachelet’s New Mandate Has a Gender Agenda
Gabby De Cicco, AWID (August 1, 2014)
Last December, Chile re-elected President Michelle Bachelet in the first ever-presidential race between two women candidates. In this article, AWID interviews feministic sociologist Teresa Valdés, the coordinator for Chile’s Gender and Equity Watch. Valdés discusses many expectations that women hold for President Bachelet’s second term, particularly a need for her to focus on drafting a new Constitution that gives women equality, as well as developing laws to address sexual and reproductive rights, decriminalize abortion, and criminalize violence against women. The article also discusses general laws and bills concerning women’s rights in Chile, and many conservative barriers that Bachelet faces.
Emma Watson Laughs in the Face of Turkish Politician’s Sexism
Megan Gibson, Time (August 1, 2014)
In a recent speech, Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc, said "A woman should be chaste. She should know the difference between public and private. She should not laugh in public." The public backlash was swift, and included a response from Emma Watson, the newly appointed Goodwill Ambassador for UN WOMEN. Watson posted a photo of herself laughing with the newly trending hashtag #direnkahkaha translating to "resist laughter."
Cultural Practices: Child Marriage & FGM / C
With New Laws Including Parental Prosecution, Britain Seeks to Eliminate Female Genital Mutilation
Lucy Westcott, Newsweek (July 22, 2014)
A new series of British reforms have been released to prosecute parents who allow their daughters to undergo female genital mutilation. Recent reports show that there are more than 137,000 women in the United Kingdom have suffered from FGM, over twice than what had previously been thought. The British government is prioritizing the ending of this human rights abuse.
What kind of men support FGM? An illustrated guide
Khalid Roy (August 1, 2014)
This article looks at the different types of men within a culture that support female genital mutilation (FGM). The "kinds" of men include "Mr. apathetic," "Mr. aggressive," "Mr. anxious," "Mr. misinformed," and "Mr. apologist." The guide elaborates on each of these types of men and their reasons for supporting this contested practice.
As long as it exists, child marriage will stand in the way of gender equality
Heather Hamilton, The Guardian (July 22, 2014)
Heather Hamilton, global coordinator of the organization Girls Not Brides, writes about The Girl Summit, a summit being held in London focusing on ending child marriage and female genital mutilation. Governments have a chance to partner with civil society to tackle the issue of child marriage, which can severely impact a woman’s life. Hamilton asserts that without an end to child marriage, it is impossible to achieve gender equality. Therefore the international community must prioritize this issue.
Health, Safety & Well-Being
Sex education can help curb crime against women, children: Experts
Times of India (July 23, 2014)
The Family Planning Association of India (FPAI) is advocating for comprehensive sex education (CSE) among youth. FPAI feels that this education would reduce crimes against women and children by helping young Indians resist social pressure and say "no" to exploitative behavior. Rather than learning about sex from pornography, FPAI’s comprehensive sex education teaches adolescents about many different topics related to sex, including gender, sexual health, HIV, and violence.
Bill aims to crack down on campus sexual assault
Mary Beth Marklein, USA Today (July 30, 2014)
A new bill, titled The Campus Accountability and Safety Act, is working its way through the United States Senate. This bill aims to penalize college campuses that do not work to take concrete steps to curb sexual assault, a tremendous issue on many campuses. (At least 19% of undergraduate women are estimated to have been victims of such assault). This bill would include many different provisions such as requiring colleges to designate confidential advisers for survivors, coordinate efforts with local law enforcement agencies, and train campus staff involved in sexual assault services. It would also require colleges to conduct surveys requiring students to discuss their experiences with assault.
Meriam Ibrahim finally arrives in United States
David Millward (August 1, 2014)
Meriam Ibrahim, the Sudanese woman who was sentenced to death for apostasy, recently arrived in the United States. Ms. Ibrahim was released due to international outrage at her sentence and accusations of adultery for marrying a Christian Sudanese man. She was greeted by hundreds of South Sudanese upon arrival in New Hampshire, which has a strong Sudanese diaspora community. Along the way to the United States, Ms. Ibrahim visited Pope Francis in Rome.
Dieting at young age affects women’s health later in life, study says
Agata Blaszczak-Boxe, CBS NEWS (July 30, 2014)
A recent study reports that dieting among women at a young age is linked to negative health behaviors later in life. Such behaviors include abusing alcohol and going on fad diets. This study reports that women have begun dieting at an increasingly young age, and this behavior is often due to a cultural pressure to stay thin.
Women & Development
Feminist Economics: Looking to the New Global Development Agenda
Ana Abelenda, AWID (July 18, 2014)
AWID reports on the International Association for Feminist Economics (IAFFE) meeting, which looked at economic justice issues and how economies affect women. Abelenda writes about the key highlights from the IAFFE event earlier in June, which included economic empowerment of women, unpaid care and women’s labor, as well as land, gender, and food security. The article also analyzes the post-2015 Development Agenda.
Youth Strategize for the Post 2015 Development Agenda
Susan Tolmay, AWID (July 25th, 2014)
This June, the Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights (YCSRR) organized a three-day meeting where young people from across the world convened to strategize for the post 2015 development agenda. AWID interviewed two different members of youth organizations about priorities for the agenda as well as the role of youth in this development process.
Gender Equality Around the Globe
Australian women still 75 years behind on pay equality, says Oxfam
Oliver Milman, The Guardian (July 13, 2014)
Australia, the new leader of the G20, must use its relatively small gender pay gap to lower the international pay inequalities. Not a single country has reached pay equality, and this injustice has had a negative impact on women a well as global economies. At this current rate of progress, Oxfam reports that it will take “75 years before women” reach pay equality; it is therefore in Australia’s hands to change this.
Gender equality bill long overdue
Zambia Daily Mail (July 14, 2014)
Inonge Wina, the Zambian minister of Gender and Child Development, says that the recent enactment of the Gender Equality Bill is “long overdue” in Zambia’s quest to get rid of gender based discrimination. Wina emphasizes the importance of laws such as these to ending discrimination against women, for it provides them with a voice; nevertheless, although Zambia is a leader in the region towards bringing gender equality, she still feels that the country in many ways is “lacking” in its efforts to bring about this justice.
Emma Watson Wants More Men To Speak Up About Global Gender Equality
Robbie Couch, The Huffington Post (July 8, 2014)
Actress Emma Watson, recently appointed the UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, urges men to begin speaking up about global gender equality through the HeforSheCampaign. Watson discusses her excitement with her new role as UN Goodwill Ambassador and working towards women’s rights and describes them as “something so inextricably linked with who I am.”
Nigeria: Women Continue to be targeted by Boko Haram
FIDH (July 2, 2014)
FIDH reports on the fundamentalist jihadist terrorist Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram that abducted 223 schoolgirls this past April; unfortunately, the terrorist organization continues to target women across the country. Throughout June and July, they have been attacking small towns and abducting women, girls, and young boys. FIDH calls on the international community to act and stop Boko Haram from continuing to commit such atrocities.
Malala meets Nigerian president to talk about missing schoolgirls
Robyn Dixon, Los Angeles Times (July 14, 2014)
Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani woman and campaigner for girls’ education and empowerment who survived a 2012 attack by militants opposing female education, recently met with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan to discuss the kidnapping of the 219 schoolgirls held by Boko Haram. Malala reports that the president expressed sincere remorse over the girls’ abduction and “assured that these girls will come home safely.”
Women & the Law
Women Misusing India’s Anti-Dowry Law, Says Supreme Court
Vibhuti Agarwal, Wall Street Journal (July 18th, 2014)
India’s supreme court is accusing women of abusing India’s 1983 anti-dowry law, a law that enforces the immediate arrest of husbands and their families that women accuse of abuse as a result of an inadequate dowry. Hundreds of thousands of people are arrested in India annually as a result of dowry offenses, which the supreme court asserts is often a result of “disgruntled wives.” Women’s right’s activists and legal experts have “slammed” the ruling.
Activists Reflect on the Rights Implications of India
Saira Zuberi, AWID (July 4, 2014)
India’s recent elections resulted in a huge victory for the right-win Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, and led to the first majority government in over 30 years. This historic election had the greatest voter turnout and a surge in voting by women. The BJP victory has significant implications for minority and women’s rights. This article looks in greater detail at some of these implications, as well as delves into the history of India’s government.
Indigenous People Demand Substantive Participation in UN Spaces
Gabby De Cicco, AWID (June 27, 2014)
AWID’s Gabby De Cicco interviews Mirna Cunningham, President of the Center for the Autonomy and Development of Indigenous Peoples, following the recent UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. Cunningham discusses the outcome of the forum (focusing specifically on issues that indigenous women face such as seuxal and reproductive health), as well as looking forward to the upcoming September World Conference on indigenous Peoples.
Health & Medicine
Stigmatization And The Role Of Associations In The Fight Against HIV In Middle East And North Africa
Mégane Ghobani (AWID) - July 11th, 2014
This article summarizes an interview between AWID and Dr. Jocelyn DeJong, a professor in the Faculty of Sciences at American University in Beirut and coordinator of the Reproductive Health Working Group. DeJong discusses her research focusing on “the role of associations in fighting HIV stigmatization.” She elaborates on many of the gaps women face in being HIV tested, as well as the effect that stigmatisation has for women wishing to receive care and treatment. The article concludes on a hopeful note by discussing concrete steps associations can take to get rid of this stigma and ultimately help improve women’s health and rights.
Peru: Protocol for Therapeutic Abortions Is Approved
Latin America Press (AWID) - July 7th, 2014
Peru recently released the Protocol for Therapeutic Abortions which standardizes the abortion procedure. The protocol describes the 10 cases when a therapeutic abortion should be performed, and will help thousands of women who had previously sought such abortions yet had been turned away by doctors and hospitals. Carmen Omonte, Minister of Women and Vulnerable Populations, calls this guide “part of the comprehensive public policy of respect for sexual and reproductive rights of women.”
Senate Considers Rare Bill Supporting Abortion Rights
Laura Bassett, Huffington Post (July 15, 2014)
The US Senate Judiciary Committee is considering a new bill, The Women’s Health Protection Act, prohibiting restrictions on abortions. This bill would stop anti-abortion laws in the United States. However, there is not a large chance that this bill will be taken up by the house, which is currently a Republican majority.
Culture (Historical and Contemporary)
FGM and Child Marriage - Grandmothers are part of the problem and the solution
Fatimah Kelleher (The Guardian) - July 17th, 2014
Female genital mutilation (FGM) has affected hundreds of millions of women across the world. In order to stop this practice, the international community needs to look into understanding the role of mothers and grandmothers in this abuse rather than focusing on a “girl-centered” dialogue. In many cases, mothers and grandmothers play a central role in the FGM process - however, this also means that they have the ability to be disrupters of the practice. This article discusses in greater details the importance of empowering families and changing societies to abolish this abuse.
Restriction On Religious Freedom Of Muslim Women Legitimate, Says Strasbourg Court
The Equal Rights Trust, AWID (July 16, 2014)
Earlier this month, the European Court of Human Rights ruled in S.A.S vs France that prohibiting the full burqa or niqab on Muslim women was not a violation of Convention rights. In this case, a Muslim woman had accused the 2011 ban against concealment of one’s face in public a violation of her private rights, religious freedom, and freedom from discrimination; however, the court, in this controversial case, found no such violation. This article elaborates on The Equal Rights Trust’s disappointment with the decision.
The Mighty Women of WWI
Belinda Davis, CNN (July 2, 2014)
This article looks at the powerful role of millions of women in World War I, who served their nation both at home and on the battlefield in different countries across the world. It discusses the way that war changed women’s lives, roles, and granted them new freedoms.
10 Words Every Female Should Learn
Soraya Chemaly, Huffington Post (June 29, 2014)
Chemaly writes about the suppressing of women’s voices in various different aspects of society, from universities to the workspace to movies / television and in many other parts of everyday life. Chemaly argues that we are under the misconception that women talk more, while in reality, males dominate in conversations and females face extreme sexism. Chemlay elaborates more on this issue, and presents phrases every female should learn while confronting these challenges.
Caitlin Moran: 'There's no such thing as oversharing'
Sarah Jane Griffiths, BBC News (July 5, 2014)
Caitlin Moran, author of the best-selling manual How To Be a Woman has published a debut novel, How To Build A Girl. This article describes the basic plot and goals behind How to Build a Girl, a story about heroine Johanna’s pursuits to become a rock critic. Moran argues that there is no such thing as “oversharing” women’s experiences, and this novel aims to get rid of taboos and bring to light girls’ experiences.
Gender-based Violence in Conflict
Sexual Violence in Conflict: Drawing a Line
The Economist (June 14, 2014)
This past week, William Hague and Angelina Jolie co-hosted the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict working to get rid of this gross human rights abuse. In this article, readers learn about some of the laws in place (as well as gaps in these laws) concerning sexual violence, and work as well as challenges that NGOs face when combating this crime, particularly in refugee camps. It provides conditions needed to end sexual violence in conflict; specifically, beginning with it being made illegal everywhere, yet this itself is a challenge difficult to enforce.
War rape summit to begin in London
BBC News (June 10, 2014)
A four-day summit on sexual violence in war is to begin in London, the culmination of a two-year campaign to raise awareness. This summit is co-hosted by Angelina Jolie and British Foreign Secretary William Hague. It aims to change attitudes towards rape in conflict, work to strengthen laws enabling prosecution of rapists, and through efforts in many other avenues to combat rape. Countries from across the world are taking a part in this conference, and to work towards ending this horrific weapon of war.
What I would tell Angelina
BBC News (June 12, 2014)
With the culmination of the summit on sexual violence in conflict, the BBC reports on messages from rape victims in Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, and South Sudan for what they wanted out of the conference. This article documents many women’s stories and their goals to end this brutal practice, such as “making rape a war crime” and having international support.
On World Refugee Day, Lets Commit To Make the Prevention of Violence Against Women and Girls in Conflict a Priority
Sarah Costa, The Huffington Post (June 19, 2014)
June 19th marks World Refugee Day; in this article, Sarah Costa, the Executive Director of Women’s Refugee Commission, discusses the crisis that displaced women and refugees face. She highlights the encouraging “new protocol that emerged from the London summit on the Documentation and Investigation of Sexual Violence in Conflict” yet emphasizes that although this is good progress, there is still a long way to go towards actually preventing gender based violence in conflict. She urges the international community to prioritize strategies to end this violence against women and lists viable next steps of action.
Gender-based Violence in Society
The Surprising Truth about Women and Violence
Cathy Young, Time (June 25, 2014)
Author Cathy Young discusses domestic violence instigated by women, an often hushed topic that leads to outcry from many feminists and women. However, Young argues that is is a much needed topic of conversation, for it is a prevalent crime in our society. She emphasizes that since women wish to be treated equally to men, it is important that stereotypes of female weakness are obliterated and that society recognizes women’s dark side as well.
Informal Work in Tunisia: A factor to be included in strategies addressing gender based violence
Megane Ghorbani, AWID (June 20, 2014)
AWID takes a look at the informal workforce in Tunisia, a country where "unprotected employment" in the "absence of social protection" makes up 54% of all jobs. This informal work leads to intense systematic discrimination against women and results in sexual violence against women who lack rights. Many organizations in Tunisia are working to combat this violence, and this article looks at some of these organizations and their allies, as well as the gaps and challenges they face.
Viewpoint: Stop denying caste and gender violence [Opinion piece]
Nilanjana S Roy, BBC News (June 11, 2014)
After the recent rape and subsequent hanging of two young girls in Badaun, an outpouring of public anger has emerged across India against gender and caste violence. Writer Nilanjana S Roy discusses why India needs to end denial about caste and gender wars, for this case is far from isolated. Indeed, it highlights discrimination and violence in Indian society. Yet, as Roy argues, these crimes are viewed by some Indians as "normal," often leading to under-reporting of crimes and lack of outcry. It is time for this to change.
Law & Human Rights
Another Factor Said to Sway Judges to Rule for Women’s Rights: A Daughter
Adam Liptak, The New York Times (June 16, 2014)
This article highlights a recent Harvard study looking at the effect having daughters has on judges’ rulings for women’s rights. The study found that judges with daughters are more likely to vote in favor of women’s rights than ones with sons. This effect is most “pronounced” in male judges appointed by Republican presidents, and highlights the importance of “personal experience” on judges’ decisions.
She the People’s Guide to the International Women’s Rights Treaty you have never heard of
Jackie Kucinich, The Washington Post (June 25 2014)
This article provides a guide to CEDAW (the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women), an international treaty that outlines and protects women’s rights. Despite its international acceptance by 187 countries, the United States is yet to ratify the treaty. This inaction upsets many Americans, particularly females in government. This article discusses reasons why CEDAW is yet to be ratified, as well as next steps towards ratifying this treaty.
Culture, Society & Human Rights
Meriam Ibrahim: Sudanese Woman freed from apostasy death sentence is re-arrested at airport… and then released again
Mohamed Osman, The Independent (June 24, 2014)
Mariam Yahya Ibraham, the Sudanese women who was sentenced to death for marrying a Christian earlier this year, was freed from her sentence in an “unprecedented” international outcry. However, after leaving for the United States, she was once again briefly re-arrested by the Sudanese government due to issues over her travel documents. Fortunately, she was released again and is at last freed.
Somali militants impose dress code
BBC News (June 13, 2014)
Somalia's al-Shabab militants, a group dedicated to the Wahhabi version of Islam, rounded up around 100 women in a market due their lack of compliance with a strict Islamic dress code. Since it was their first offense, the women were not punished; however, if caught again, the women could be whipped. The women were ordered to wear a niqab covering their body and face albeit the hot summer temperatures.
Nigeria: extremists have abducted 91 more people, witnesses say
The Guardian (June 24, 2014)
Extremists in Nigeria have abducted 91 more people following the kidnapping over more than 200 schoolgirls three months ago that have yet to be freed. These 91 people consist of 60 girls and women as well as 31 boys. This kidnapping highlights the horrific presence that Boko Haram has on the nation as well as the stalled international efforts to “Bring Back Our Girls” and lessen Boko Haram’s hold on the nation.
Socorristas En Red - Socorro Rosa: A Feminist Practice For the Right to Choose in Argentina
Gabby De Cicco, AWID (June 13, 2014)
Socorristas en Red (feminists involved in abortions) is an Argentinian feminist collective providing information and counseling to women who opt to having an abortion using Misoprostol, a drug allowing a woman to safely end her pregnancy during the first 12 weeks of conception. This is an important process in Argentina, where abortion is illegal except for special circumstances (such as rape), and even then it is often challenging to legally receive a safe abortion. Here, AWID interviews Dahiana Belifori, a member of Socorristas En red, about the importance of the organization and its role in Argentine society.
How the Bicycle Paved the Way for Women’s Rights
Adrienne Lafrance, The Atlantic (June 26, 2014)
This article looks at the impact of the bicycle on women’s rights and the public perception of the bicycle. After America became “obsessed” with the bicycle in the 1890s, women obtained transportation independence, their fashion became less restrictive for ankles became exposed, and images of women looking “strong” on her bicycle were featured in newspapers and magazines across the country.
Our biweekly news bulletin on issues related to international women's health and human rights. Click on the headlines to read the full story.
Violence Against Women
Indian minister criticises lax policing in gang-rape case
Jason Burke, The Guardian (May 30, 2014)
The rape of two girls and their consequent suicide in Katra, India has led the Indian government to pledge to set up a “rape crisis cell” to help women who have been sexually assaulted. Villagers across Katra protested the lack of police action, and their demonstrations have led to anger across the country for police laxity regarding violence against women. Rape is a huge problem in India: there is huge social stigma attached to rape, and violence is rising against women. A third of rape victims in the country are below the age of 18, clearly signaling a time for change and reform.
PHOTOS: In Some Places, This is What Happens When a Woman Turns Down a Marriage Proposal
Alexander Grove, Ryot
This compilation of shocking photos by photographer Emilio Morenatti documents the abuse that Pakistani women can receive when refusing to participate in arranged marriages. Morenatti published these photos with the aim of raising awareness about domestic violence as well as giving a voice to the victims of this abuse, who suffered from acid attacks.
Economic & Political Rights
When will women achieve gender equality in leadership at work?
D.G. McCullough, The Guardian (June 4, 2014)
This article discusses gender inequality in women's leadership in the workforce. In American and European companies, men hold over 80% of executive committee positions. One organization working to fix this imbalance is the global gender consulting firm 20-first, which believes corporate leaders, not just women themselves, should tackle the problem. The firm provides information and makes suggestions for improving this imbalance through steps such as manager education. The company recommends against the idea of “adapted women,” where women are asked to behave in a more masculine fashion. The CEO of 20-first says, "If companies want to balance, those in power must lead the change, reframe gender balance as a business not a women's issue."
Reclaiming the Commons for Gender and Economic Justice: Struggles and Movements in India
Ana Abelenda, AWID (June 6, 2014)
In India, women lack access to the “commons” which are natural as well as knowledge resources, culture, and heritage that are outside of the private domain that they are dependent on. This article argues that women that women need to work to reclaim these commons by recognizing their right to these resources and allowing them a process in deciding how to allocate these resources in order to get rid of gender inequality.
You Can’t Have it All: 40% of Women Professionals are “Hanging On By A Thread”
Cheryl Conner, Forbes (June 8, 2014)
A study by Megan Dalla Camina surveyed 1,000 American women professionals about their well-being. It found that 70% of women believe the concept of success at both home and work is a myth and are struggling to be both top professionals and run a household. However, the same is true for men who care for the home. Therefore, societies should think about the needs of today’s professionals and how to help them balance and organize the many facets of their lives.
What would a feminist Internet look like?
Rochelle Jones, AWID (May 30, 2014)
This past April, the Association for Progressive Communications held a global meeting on gender, sexuality, and the intent focusing on developing the understanding of what a feminist internet looks like. In this interview, AWID talks with a representative from APC about the symposium as well as their EROTICS project focusing on Sex, rights, and the internet. This research and work focuses on the concept of a “feminist internet” as well as getting rid of violations and human rights violations against women, misogyny, and sexism.
Engagement Féminin: Women, Education, and Contemporary Dance in West Africa
Emily Coates, Huffington Post (June 7, 2014)
Engagement Féminin is an initiative working to offer contemporary dance training to women across West Africa, a region of the world where dancing is primarily a male sport. Engagement Féminin is based in Burkina Faso, where women face many economic , social, and political challenges and discrimination. The article tells the story of Salimata Wologem, a member of Engagement Féminim and describes the author’s upcoming journey to Burkina Faso to help teach dance.
Our biweekly news bulletin on issues related to international women's health and human rights. Click on the headlines to read the full story.
Economic & Political Rights
Women in Saudi Arabia: Unshackling Themselves
The Economist (May 17, 2014)
The tide in Saudi Arabia is running in women’s favor as women are slowly gaining rights, an expanded role in government, and prestigious jobs as newspaper editors and lawyers. Despite these reforms, there is still a long way to go until women have equality—many discriminatory laws and practices against them remain. What also remains? A multitude of different opinions among women on their ultimate role in society and tactics to achieve their goals.
Feminist Roma Women Defending Their Rights in Spain
Gabby De Cicco, AWID (May 17, 2014)
AWID interviews Maria José Jiménez Cortiñas and Aurora Fernández, President and Secretary of Asociación Gitanas Feministas por la Diversidad (AGFD), an organization dedicated to fighting discrimination against Roma women. They describe how these women face “three-fold” discrimination: for being women, Roma, and part of an ethnic minority, which leads to ridicule, stereotyping, racism, etc. The interview describes the work and action of AGFD and identifies changes to be implemented at the local and national level.
Gender Discrimination is at the Heart of the Wage Gap
Anthony Carnevale and Nicole Smith, Time Magazine (May 19, 2014)
This article details the injustice of the gender wage gap in the United States, where women earn 77% of what men earn. Harvard economist Claudio Goldin uses wage data for men and women with identical degrees and experiences, showing that gender discrimiatnion is the leading cause for this injustice. Methods to close the gender wage gap include the Paycheck Fairness Act and shifting the norms and stereotypes communicated to youth, and the way we view working women.
International Law & Organizations
World Health Assembly guest speakers focus on gender-based violence and newborn health
World Health Organization (May 20, 2014)
The World Health Organization is currently hosting the World Health Assembly. This press release discusses a presentation by Dr. Christine Kaseba-Sata, First Lady of Zambia (WHO Goodwill Ambassador against gender-based violence) and Melinda Gates, co-Chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. They call for improved maternal health and remind the audience of the responsibility that the health sector has to address violent discrimination against women. Later this week, the Assembly will release a new action plan for newborns that will have a “triple return on investment.”
UN Refugee agency takes a big step to make women’s and girls’ lives SAFEr
Megan Gerrard, Women’s Refugee Commission (May 21, 2014)
This past week, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) released the Safe Access to Fuel and Energy (SAFE) Strategy seeking to transform the way refugees and vulnerable people meet their energy needs. Currently, women and girls bare the brunt of obtaining energy for communities through dangerous and unhealthy practices such as biomass collection. This new act, seeking to develop new, healthier, safer, and more sustainable energy practices in refugee communities, will therefore directly protect and improve the health and environment of women and girls. More information on SAFE can be found here.
Reproductive Health & Rights
Iran’s population drive worries women’s rights, health advocates
Michelle Moghtader, Reuters (May 27, 2014)
Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei recently called for an increase in Iran’s population to replace the drive to encourage contraception dating from the 1980s. Health and women’s rights advocates fear that this could lead to an increase of AIDS, force women to stay home and focus on child rearing, as well as “undermine” the position of women in society.
Pregnant Pakistani woman’s public stoning draws outrage
Fahran Bokhari, CBS News (May 28, 2014)
25 year old Farzana Parveen was brutally stoned to death by her own family due to her choice of defying the decisions to wed one of her cousins. Instead, she married Mohammad Iqbal out of choice and was muredered in this “honor killing” while pregannt. Honor killing is no particularly uncommon in Pakistan; unfrotunately, what makes this case unusual is that it occured outside Lahore’s “hihg court”, supposedly one of the safest sites int he country. ACtivisits and members of the opposition party suggest that this demonstrates poor law enforcement and lack of desire by authorities to support women’s rights.
Sudanese Woman Sentenced To Death For Apostasy Gives Birth
Harriet Sherwood, The Telegraph (May 27, 2014)
27-year-old Meriam Ibrahim recently gave birth to a baby girl in a Khartoum prison. She has been sentenced to death for her marriage to a Christian man, which resulted in her getting charges for apostasy and adultrey. Although she has denied the charges and told the court she grew up as a Christian, authorities refuse to remove her death sentence. The international community, including the United Kingdom and the United States, have criticized her sentence and asked for her release.
Youth & Adolescents
Egyptian doctor to stand trial for female genital mutilation in landmark case
Patrick Kingsley, The Guardian (May 21, 2014)
Egyptian doctor Raslan Fadl is set to stand trial for the death of a 13-year-old schoolgirl who reportedly died due to a complication in a FGM operation last year. Although FGM is illegal in Egypt, it is still widely practiced. Many Egyptians, particularly those living in rural areas, support FGM. Activists hope that this landmark case, though expected to be “short and procedural”, will be a stepping stone towards the halting of this violent practice.
Schools warned over FGM risk to girls during summer holidays
Alexandra Topping, The Guardian (May 25, 2014)
Summer is typically the season with the highest occurance of FGM; therefore, the British Departmnet of Education has urged schools to be vigiliant in working to prevent FGM prior to summer holiday. Teachers and administrations have een urged to be attentitve to keeping their female students safe in order to prevent FGM.
Imam Baba Leigh: 'FGM is not a personal issue. It is a worldwide issue'
Amanda Holpuch, The Guardian (May 21, 2014)
A prominent Muslim cleric and activist, Imam Baba Leigh, has come out in support of a campaign to end female genital mutiliation. Leigh, originally from the Gambia, but now residing in the United States, has been a target of the government due to his advocacy and political clout. He "supports a campaign by Jaha Dukureh, a 24-year-old survivor of FGM, to petition the US government to create a comprehensive plan to end FGM and provide services to people who have already been subjected to the practice." Leigh's support of ending FGM is proving influential, emphasizing that it is a cultural, rather than religious, practice and a violation of human rights that will eventually be ended.
Op-Eds & Events
Why it’s time to put women’s issues at center of foreign policy
Janet Fleischman, CNN (May 16, 2014)
Fleischman exhorts the Obama Administration to prioritize women’s issues in its foreign policy agenda. At the beginning of Obama’s term, women’s empowerment, education and other issues related to women’s health were a central component of his foreign policy plan. Since then, the momentum has slowed. The tragic kidnapping of the Nigerian schoolgirls reminds us of the importance of gender equality.
End the Stigma: Why Menstruation Matters to Women’s Rights
Kriti Sharma, Huffington Post (May 28, 2014)
Kriti Sharma writes on the importance of endigms stgima on mensturation, particularly in the context of women and girls with disabiliities. Often, wome who have disabilities are discriminated against and are abused when they menstruate; consequenetly, ften they either drop out of schol or have a forced steraliziation. Sharma argues that mensturation, a basic human right, should no longer be allowed to be taken away for women, used as a stigma, or take away their dignity.
The African Women’s Education Terror Antidote
Pius Kamau, Huffington Post (May 16, 2014)
Written on behalf of the organization Africa America Higher Education Partnerships (AAHEP), Pius Kamau’s opinion piece focuses on the idea that the best way forward for Africa is through education. He argues that the West must rethink where its African development funds are invested towards educating African girls and women. Education of African women is “indifferent at best," highlighted by the Boko Haram terrorist case. A paradigm shift towards a society that values education of women would greatly benefit the continent.
International Day Against Homophia and Transphobia Taking Place in Over 120 Countries
Huffington Post (May 17, 2014)
May 17th, 2014 is the ninth annual International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia (IDAHOT), the largest LGBTI solidarity action in the world. Beginning in 2004, across the globe, people participate in marches, demonstrations, debates, and acts of solidarity. International leaders also participate in importance discussions regarding violence, HIV funding, safety and security of LGBTI refugees. The theme of this year's IDAHOT is “Free Expression” and is turning into the largest to date, with millions of individuals gathering bravely in solidarity for basic human rights.
To learn more about the other 2014 events that are taking place around the world as well as the International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia please go to www.dayagainsthomophobia.org and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.
A roundup of stories related to women's health, development, law, culture and human rights from around the world.